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“West Indies beat England 2-1 in a three-match Test series in the Caribbean at the start of 2019. ©AFP”
London (AFP) – Cricket West Indies have said they are “flexible” about rearranging their tour of England but will not risk their players’ health just to complete a three-Test series.
The fixtures were all due to take place in June but Friday saw the England and Wales Cricket Board extend the delay to the start of its season until July 1.
English officials remain hopeful they can reschedule all international fixtures in a programme that also includes three more Tests against Pakistan and white-ball matches against Australia and Ireland, from July until September.
CWI chief executive Johnny Grave insisted while the West Indies were open to a change of dates, player safety remained the priority.
“Clearly playing in June is now not possible and we will continue our discussions with the ECB and other international boards on trying to find new dates,” said Grave in a statement from the governing body.
“Our respective medical teams are beginning to discuss how this (England) series could be played whilst guaranteeing the health and safety of our players and support team.
“We will be as flexible as we can without compromising the safety of our team,” Grave, himself an Englishman, added.
Even if the two boards find mutually acceptable dates, Britain’s lockdown restrictions would have to ease for the series to take place in England and even rules banning mass gatherings would likely still be in force, meaning matches would have to take place behind closed doors.
ECB chief executive Tom Harrison said Friday the board had received “multiple offers” from other countries to help them complete the domestic season.
His comments came after Surrey chairman Richard Thompson earlier said Abu Dhabi had offered to host matches for the ECB.
“We’ve had offers as far away as Australia and New Zealand,” said Harrison.”Those offers are on the table.
“I haven’t had anything from Abu Dhabi, but that’s not to say the offer hasn’t been made.”
But Harrison, while still aiming for England to stage a full home 2020 international season, warned: “We’re probably getting to the point now where any further delays beyond where we’ve already started planning for will involve losing cricket rather than rescheduling again.”